The US Congress will vote on the committee for the first time in its history next week on a bill that shyly opens the door to compensation for descendants of black slaves, a sensitive issue in a country where inequality remains high.
The committee wrote on Friday that “this text, which was submitted for the first time in nearly 30 years, provides for the establishment of a commission to study slavery and discrimination in the United States since 1619 and recommend appropriate responses.” Judiciary in the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats.
The discussions and voting in the committee are set for Wednesday.
This unprecedented step opens the way to a possible vote in a plenary session in the Council, the date of which has not yet been set. The future of this text remains uncertain in the Senate.
“Long after the abolition of slavery, the separation and enslavement of African Americans partially defined the policies of this country, which in turn shaped its values and institutions,” said Democratic Commission Jerry Nadler.
“We still live today with racial inequality in access to education, health, housing, insurance, employment and other societal assets, which is directly attributable to the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination that the authorities have supported,” he added.
The powerful civil rights organization ACLU commended the committee’s “historic” study of this law, called HR40.
“Congress has sat in HR40 for 30 years, and this review and vote shows that our elected officials are finally listening to the will of millions of people demanding that we begin to compensate the communities hardest hit by racism and oppression.” The organization’s official is Jennifer Bellamy.
She added that although this is “an important step in the right direction, it is only the beginning”, pledging to “fight until HR40 is put to a vote in a plenary session.”
At the end of March, the small town of Evanston, in the suburb of Chicago, voted to give money to its African-American residents to compensate for the damage caused by housing discrimination, and was the first city in the United States to implement such a measure.